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Residential Property Management/Handicap accessibility after renting


Hi Mike-

We have 1 rental property and out current tenant gave notice he is moving out. We have showed the house and received several applications. One of the applicants is a acquaintance of an acquaintance and when we called her for a referral check she mentioned that the husband has the beginnings of muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis and may need a wheelchair in a few years. If we rent to them what is my responsibility to them as a landlord? The house was built in the 1930s and is not handicap accessible. Could they make us put in ramps or a handicap accessible bathroom if his condition worsens?


The major regulations covering handicap accessibility is the ADA (American with Disabilities Act), but that applies to multi-family dwellings so technically speaking, you would be exempt from that. Then the question becomes whether it would be viewed as discrimination is you refused to rent the house due to the pending disability. Once again, private single family homes are usually exempt, but that doesn't mean someone can't claim discrimination and sue. And if you do rent with foreknowledge of that pending condition, then you may be stuck in having to modify the house later.

I think my advice would be to have a frank conversation with the applicants, if you do decide to rent to them, then you should be open about the fact that the house was built in the 1930's and therefore not suitable for disabled access, and that it's not economically feasible to add accommodations to that type of older property.

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Mike Fortunato


Very familiar with all aspects of property management (tenant/landlord issues, lease administration, facilities maintenance, financials, etc). 25+ years in property management


I have been in real estate management for 25+ years, both residential and commercial properties. Currently own and operate a commercial and residential real estate management company in southern California.

IREM; BOMA; MLS; National Association of Realtors; California Association of Realtors

CPM (Certified Property Manager) and RPA (Real Property Administrator)

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